A driving under intoxication (DUI) charge can be a serious hit to your criminal record and your wallet. And unfortunately, in some cases, you may not have even suspected that you were intoxicated at the time. Here's a guide to your next steps when you're fighting a DUI charge.
Understanding What Happened
The general rule of thumb is that you can have one standard drink, such as a 12-ounce beer, for every hour without becoming legally intoxicated. However, there are many factors that can affect if you become intoxicated or feel intoxicated. Your gender, your mental and emotional state, and even the food you consume can all play a role, leading to a confusing situation where you may get stopped for drunk driving when you didn't even know you were over the legal limit.
Contacting a Lawyer
You're probably looking at a series of legal obligations, including a trial to determine whether your charge is valid. The best thing that you can do for yourself, especially if you were near the legal limit, is invest in an experienced DUI defense lawyer. There are many factors that could affect the validity of a breathalyzer or a field sobriety test, and if you can argue that you were not intoxicated, you may be able to have the charge dropped completely.
Just to give you an idea, some lawyers may argue that your test went over the legal limit because you recently used mouthwash; this could affect the readings enough to tip you over the legal limit. Or you could argue that the breathalyzer machine was malfunctioning. Especially if your behavior was fairly normal and you have witnesses to this point, it's quite possible to get out of a DUI charge in this scenario. So the money that you spend on a lawyer could save you from thousands of dollars in penalties and a revoked license. Contact a company like Steven T. Fox Law Firm to learn more.
Being Safe in the Future
With all of that said, if you were caught driving near the legal limit of intoxication, it's probably time to reevaluate your drinking and driving habits. It could be useful to buy a breathalyzer kit so that you can test your blood alcohol content before you get in the car. Another thing you could do is use one of the many online tools that helps you calculate an approximate blood alcohol content based on the volume of alcohol you've consumed plus your weight or body mass index (BMI). And always having a back-up plan in case your readings are over the legal limit is a smart way to avoid these troubles in the future.